A Passage to India
by E.M. Forster
A Passage to India Justice and Judgment Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Part.Chapter.Paragraph)
[Fielding's] question produced a bad effect, partly because he had pronounced her name; she, like Aziz, was always referred to by a periphrasis. (2.20.15)
In addition to a kind of mass hysteria, the British in Chandrapore refuse to speak directly about the case, about Adela and Aziz. They only use periphrases, or circumlocutions: "the prisoner," "the accused," "the patient," etc. Because they only speak indirectly about the case, they can never have an open and rational discussion about what actually happened.
"[…] [M]y belief is that poor McBryde exorcised you. As soon as he asked you a straightforward question, you gave a straightforward answer, and broke down." (2.26.30)
Fielding's theory is that once Adela was finally asked to speak directly about the incident, instead of through circumlocutions (see Quote #7), she was able to clearly perceive what happened.
For her behavior rested on cold justice and honesty; she had felt, while she recanted, no passion of love for those whom she had wronged. Truth is not truth in that exacting land unless there go with it kindness and more kindness again, unless the Word that was with God also is God. And the girl's sacrifice – so creditable according to Western notions – was rightly rejected, because, though it came from her heart, it did not include her heart. (2.26.69)
Adela is finally able to figure out the right thing to do, and even though it's courageous, it's still lacking. Lacking, you ask? Didn't she give up her friends, her engagement, her whole society when she withdrew her charge against Aziz? Can't we cut the girl a break? The point that the novel seems to be making is that Adela still doesn't get it. She's still clinging to the English, abstract way of looking at justice as a matter purely of right and wrong, of moral laws and principles. Her view seems to have nothing to do with the actual people involved, their emotions, their feelings.